If you want to make delicious, nutritious and – let’s face it – Instagram-worthy food at home, you need the right equipment.
A good pan,or more than one, is essential to ensure you cook your meals to perfection. Not only are they the perfect nonstick go-to, they are oven safe, sear food well, and are light enough to toss ingredients around (Source).
Carbon steel pans are becoming an increasingly popular choice for cooks everywhere. These pans combine many of the advantages of a cast iron pan, with significant savings in weight.
Also, for fans of vintage cast iron instead of more modern versions, carbon steel pans more closely resemble the old cast iron pans of years gone by – except in weight, that is.
Like cast iron, a good carbon steel pan can last for a lifetime when properly cared for. It will also be a great addition to your cookware collection.
Best Carbon Steel Pans 2019
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Carbon Steel Pans 2019
- 2 1. Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet – 12-inch
- 3 2. Mauviel M’steel Frying Pan – 8-inch
- 4 3. Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan – 11 7/8 inch
- 5 4. De Buyer Carbon Steel Frying Pan – 11-inch
- 6 5. Mineral B Round Steak Fry Pan
- 7 Factors To Consider Before Buying A Carbon Steel Pan
- 8 Our Final Review
|Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet|
|Mauviel M'steel Frying Pan|
|Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan|
|De Buyer Carbon Steel Frying Pan|
|Mineral B Round Steak Fry Pan|
1. Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet – 12-inchThis pan gets high marks for versatility. You can use it for roasting, frying, sauteing and simmering. But this offering from Lodge is at its best when used for searing both meat and vegetables.
At 12 inches in diameter, this pan is large enough for almost any meal. Its all-metal handle means it can also be used inside the oven, and despite the larger size of the pan, it should fit inside most ovens.
A nice feature of this pan is that it comes pre-seasoned. Not everyone has the time to season their own pans. With the Lodge CRS12, you can get cooking right away.
It comes pre-seasoned with soybean oil, which makes it vegetarian-friendly. However, with repeated use and washing, this coating will start to wear off, and more seasoning will probably have to be performed by the customer.
This pan can be used practically everywhere except in the microwave. Of course, no carbon steel pan should be used in a microwave. So this pan is about as versatile as they come.
At just over 4 pounds, it’s light enough for regular use.
2. Mauviel M’steel Frying Pan – 8-inchThe extra thick steel of this Mauviel pan is designed to stand up to intense heat, which makes it suitable for a range of cooking tasks. It’s especially good for searing meat such as steak or fish since the metal surface of the pan will reach a very high heat if you let it.
Made in France, the pan carries a lifetime warranty for regular household use. It’s certainly a sturdy piece of equipment for any kitchen. The durable construction means it can be used on any cooking surface, whether gas, ceramic, electric or the backyard grill.
Thicker than usual steel does have its downsides, though. This pan can be slower to reach cooking temperature than others. On the plus side, it will hold that heat for longer, too.
This pan will need seasoning before use, and it’s recommended that you do this right away. The Mauviel has an unfortunate propensity to rust if it isn’t protected immediately. This might explain the manufacturer’s decision to pack the pan by covering it in protective beeswax which you will need to remove right away.
At only 2 pounds, this is a lightweight pan that anyone can use. Its small size does make it better suited for smaller families, though. You probably won’t be scrambling eggs for twenty people in this pan, but it will do a great job of searing a couple of steaks just the way you like them.
3. Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan – 11 7/8 inchAs soon as you pick up this pan, you’ll get a sense of its solid construction. A good quality carbon steel pan should last a lifetime, and the Matfer feels like something your grandchildren may one day use to cook food with.
That kind of substantiality has its downside, of course. At around four pounds, this skillet is no lightweight. But given the almost 12-inch diameter of this large pan, you would expect it to weigh a little more than others.
This hard-wearing pan can be used on any heat source, including induction stoves. Well, anything except the microwave. It comes unseasoned though, so before you begin to use it, you will need to season this pan and make it non-stick.
The Matfer is an excellent pan with a ton of uses, and you can’t argue with the quality of its build. Do be aware, though, that this pan should be heated gradually before use. The metal can warp if exposed to very high heat without any warning.
4. De Buyer Carbon Steel Frying Pan – 11-inchLike many carbon steel pans, this skillet can be used on any type of hob, including induction ovens. Its riveted handle, touted as being unbreakable by the manufacturers, has an all-steel construction which makes it safe to use inside the oven too. Just be aware that a metal handle will get hot during cooking, and you’ll need to protect your hands before grabbing it.
De Buyer is a French brand with 180 years of history, so it’s somewhat surprising to find that this pan only carries a two-year warranty. Fortunately, this pan is solidly constructed, and the thick steel it is constructed from will not warp under heat. It is safe to use with induction ovens, too.
The De Buyer will require seasoning before use, but once you do that, you’ll have a non-stick surface that’s better than Teflon. And the heat distribution of this pan is as good as that of a cast iron pan, which is high praise. This ensures food is more evenly heated for better cooking.
All this solid steel comes at the price of significant weight, though. At a whopping 4.6 pounds, this is one of the heaviest pans out there. On the plus side, the 11-inch diameter makes it great for scrambling eggs or preparing other meals that benefit from a little extra space.
Despite the generous 11 inch size, this pan weighs a mere 3.5 pounds, so it’s easy to use for a variety of cooking tasks. The pan can be used on all stovetops, including induction, and the metal handle will easily survive use in the oven, too.
As is often the case with pans from French manufacturers, the Mineral B comes with a protective beeswax coating that will need to be washed off with very hot water before you begin seasoning. This additional step in the process can become irritating.
This pan comes with instructions on the seasoning process that must be followed before use. Make sure you do this as soon as you can; this pan is liable to develop rust very quickly, so the sooner you season it, the better.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Carbon Steel Pan
Go to any kitchen or home store today, and you’ll find a dizzying array of different pots and pans, ranging from suspiciously cheap to ludicrously expensive.
Online, it gets even trickier. It’s hard to cut through the salespeak and find the right pan for you.
But here a few things you should be thinking about:
It’s kind of an obvious point, but you need to choose a pan that’s within your budget. Choosing the cheapest pan available is a sure way to get something that either won’t last or won’t cook your food properly.
There’s no sense spending money on great ingredients, only to ruin your cooking with a substandard pan.
On the other hand, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent carbon steel pan. If you only cook now and then, you can probably get away with something more affordable. But if cooking is a major hobby, think about the long-term value of a better pan.
If correctly cared for, a carbon steel pan should last you a lifetime. But not all pans are created equal. Make sure that what you’re looking at buying is going to last. Online customer reviews can be a great source of information here.
Just like cast iron, carbon steel pans need to be seasoned before use. Regular heating of the pan with oil inside will lead to the creation of non-stick polymers on the steel. If this isn’t something you’re willing to do yourself, you can get a pre-seasoned pan so that you can start cooking right away.
But if you prefer to know everything that goes into your food, or you just like to do things the old-fashioned way, seasoning the pan yourself allows you to really make it your own.
This is an important one, and it requires you to think about your cooking style. A lighter pan means less strain on your arms. The sloped sides of carbon steel pans make them ideal for sauteing, but if you’re tossing food into the air, you want a pan you can comfortably lift.
Naturally, the size of a pan will affect its weight (and its price). The size of pan you need will depend on what you intend to cook, and for how many people. Someone with a big family, or who does a lot of entertaining, is going to need a bigger pan than someone who usually cooks for themselves or one other person.
Our Final Review
Carbon steel pans are a great alternative to trendy cast iron and offer some advantages over other materials too. Visit any professional kitchen, and the chances are good that most of the pans you find will be made of this durable and practical material.
But what’s best for a professional isn’t always the right choice for someone cooking at home.
Before you decide on what carbon steel pan to buy, you need to think carefully about how and when you’ll be using this versatile piece of cookware. You also need to consider how many people you intend to feed, and what kind of cooking you’ll be doing.
A good quality carbon steel pan is something that will find a use in almost anybody’s kitchen. Take the time to do your research, and you’ll end up with a pan that will last forever and take your cooking to a new level.
If you’re a fan of carbon steel, or you’ve tried any of the pans listed above, jump to the comment section to let us know!